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  • Writer's pictureJohn Graybill

On This Day March 11, 1815

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

John Andrew business card
John Andrew Business card 1850

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to John Andrew, born March 11, 1815 in Hull, England. John was an engraver and the founder of John Andrew & Son, the company that engraved the copper plates and created the photogravures for Edward Curtis' "The North American Indian." Today the Andrew/Curtis legacy continues with John's 2nd great-grandson, Mark Andrew, as he serves on the Board of Directors of the Curtis Legacy Foundation.

John apprenticed as a metal engraver at age 13. By age 18 he was part of Andrew, Best, and Leloir, a well known engraving firm in Paris, at that point working mostly in wood. He moved to Boston in 1850, quickly becoming one of the best known engravers on the east coast. In 1859 John did all 1,400 engravings for the first illustrated dictionary in America - Webster's. He went into partnership with his son George soon after. George had trained under his father, and they completed many works together, including the 1864 edition of Webster's Illustrated Dictionary. The firm provided illustrations for many weekly news magazines and worked with the best known authors of the period. Some 230 examples of their work are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston.

Letterhead for John Andrew or possible business card

John died in 1870, but George carried on the family business, getting back into metal engraving and photogravures. It was George who managed the business and performed the work for Curtis, first as an independent company, then as a division of Suffolk Engraving and Electrotyping.

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